The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

Dear Cancer, Do You Remember Me?

by Liz KennishCaregiver, Hodgkin’s lymphomaJune 20, 2023View more posts from Liz Kennish

Dear Cancer,

I wish I could start with, “Hello old friend, and thank you for all the ways you’ve shaped my growth,” as I have written before, but today that feels like a lie. One thing I’ve lost the ability to do is lie to protect you. Today I am still grieving and angry. Today I can’t see past all you have taken from me.

Can you even remember me? You took my mother in ‘88 when I was just a kid, and yet I thanked you. I thought my debt had been paid. You taught me to love every day, not just on good days, and I thanked you. I tried to make my life a life worth losing hers for. Make her proud and show my kids how to love unconditionally as a reminder of who she was. They may have never met, but my boys know exactly the kind of woman she was. Why wasn’t she enough to feed your hunger? Her beautiful soul that always fed the hungry and clothed the poor. No one met her and didn’t feel her love. Couldn’t she be enough? Why did you have to come back for more?

Do you even keep track anymore? All the homes you break, the wreckage you cause just to fill the empty pit that is your stomach? Do you have a body count? Do you have a goal? When will it all be enough? Do you even remember their names? Those magical souls you took from us, they were ours first and you probably don’t even remember their names!! I’ll remind you, but only so these names can haunt you and keep you up at night: hers was Teresa and his was Jeremy. You selfish prick.

It’s been a year since you took him. A year since I last got to hold his hand or kiss his face. It’s been a year since my kids were forced to join me in a club they weren’t supposed to join. I could almost have thanked you for allowing me to grow and love this amazing man before you ripped him away from me, but this time it’s not about me. This time the anger is still boiling at the surface, so you don’t get the benefit of the doubt. You get to hear every pain-filled truth. HOW DARE YOU! How dare you take him before they were done growing. Their pain is so visible and raw, it shakes me. They went from kids who had seen a lot in this world to souls who now understand things some full-grown adults never do. I will never forgive you for breaking them. Their pain keeps me up at night. And there’s no one to blame, but you.

I cannot pretend not to notice. I can’t thank you for their suffering. Or find the silver lining. I will not let this go—it’s a line you’ve drawn in the sand that will forever stand between us. I’ve tried to be the bigger person, but I’m done.

Please respect what little peace I have,


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